Image expert Dima Mikati makes it very clear that her services reach far beyond that of a personal shopper. ‘You see a lot of personal shoppers who spend their time imposing their style on the clients. They just shop with them; they don’t do the thorough analysis that we do.’
Dima runs Impressions Image Consultancy out of her immaculately decorated Sheikh Zayed Road apartment, and her services are four-fold. She provides an in-depth colour analysis for clients, whereby she creates a palette for their clothes, make-up, jewellery and hair colour (after the session, you can even buy a personalised colour wheel). She also does body analysis, helping clients to understand which shapes they can and can’t wear. She will do a wardrobe audit – tossing out the items that don’t fit or don’t flatter. Finally, she can revamp your image, including personal shopping. She’s a one-woman makeover service: it’s a little like employing Trinny and Susannah from BBC style show What Not to Wear.
Opting for the complete package can be costly and takes several sessions so, on Dima’s recommendation, I opt to have just my colour palette analysed. She immediately sets to work draping me in different colours, starting by placing black fabric on my left shoulder and brown on my right. She stares at me intently throughout the process and holds up a mirror every time she tries a different shade of fabric.
‘See how the black colour shows the wrinkles under the eyes, and how on the other side you can’t see them?’ Shockingly, I do see it. The side of my face reflecting black looks more haggard. ‘If you wear the right colours, you look younger, thinner, healthier. Sometimes people might look at you and say, “you look tired,” or “you look sick”. A lot of it has to do with what colour you’re wearing.’
The analysis continues. Red makes me look positively speckled, and emphasises the veins in my eyes. As I had suspected, I’m an ‘autumn’, best suited to browns, oranges, greens and, oddly, plum – the colours of the forest, I suppose.
As it happens, I’m not wearing any of the recommended colours, instead having opted for a muted grey shirt and blue jeans. ‘Your outfit tells me that your wardrobe isn’t bold. You don’t take many chances. It’s not classic either, and it’s not dramatic. It’s low key.’ She’s right – I do opt for a low-key, ‘don’t-stand-out’ wardrobe. She assures me, though, that wearing colours that suit me will only make me look good, not make me an attention-seeker.
We have some extra time so she also does a little body analysis: as with the rest of the session, she is brutally honest. ‘The sleeve is all wrong,’ she tells me (it’s ¾ length). ‘It makes your arm look fatter than it is. Better you wear it longer to show off your forearms, which are slender and prettier.’ She also advises me to wear longer shirts – the one I’m wearing draws attention to my stomach (again, not my best asset).
Taking Dima’s advice into consideration, I set off to The Dubai Mall, where the post-holiday sales suck me into a number of stores. Before I know it, I’ve dropped dirhams on a slinky new plum dress and a terracotta bag in an autumnal shade. When I get home, I bury my old red shirts at the back of my closet (some of my closest friends later confess they always hated them anyway). After donning a new plum shirt for work the next day, I receive more compliments on my outfit than I have in weeks.
Impressions Image Consultancy (050 640 2550, email@example.com). Prices available upon request.